Captain Marvel is one of Marvel Comics’s lesser known superheroes. She (and he in earlier decades; Carol Danvers wasn’t the only one to wear the name*) was a minor character up until fairly recent times. Carol Danvers herself (under various identities) was even more so. However, she has always been a feminist character, and yes, Marvel definitely tried to play that up for her big screen debut.
It might be because of this that Captain Marvel has become perhaps Marvel’s most politicized movie, even weeks before it premiered. The trailers got a lot of criticism in certain circles, mostly over allegedly too-heavy-handed feminist themes and lead actress Brie Larson’s acting.
I don’t want to make this a political post, but I feel like I can’t avoid it because the result of this controversy is that I don’t fully trust the reviews on either side. There are a lot people who want to like Captain Marvel for political/social/cultural reasons, but there are also a lot of people who want to dislike it because they’re on the opposite side of those issues. And both of those groups are capable of distorting the reviews. Rotten Tomatoes’s critics give it an 80% fresh rating, but rival site Metacritic rates it at 64%. Meanwhile, on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience gives it 57%, fairly close to Metacritic, but that’s up from a low of about 30% (possibly fueled by bots). When the numbers are this all over the place, who do you trust?
Well, if you’re reading this blog, I would hope you trust me, so here’s my review. The short version is, I liked the movie. It wasn’t fantastic. It certainly wasn’t Marvel’s strongest offering. But it was a fairly enjoyable movie. I’d rank it above several MCU movies that got pretty good ratings from got critics and audience alike, including Age of Ultron, Thor 1 and 2, and dare I say even Iron Man 2 and 3. Again, not the best, but not deserving of the hate it’s getting.
My rating: 4 out of 5.
Again, I don’t want to make this a political post, but I do want to give some semblance of intelligent analysis. Because I believe the movie did have flaws, I had to wonder how my opinion compared with the detractors’. So I went over to the dark side and read a few of the most hostile reviews to try to figure out why they say Captain Marvel is so bad and whether I can refute it. Bottom line: yeah, I mostly can. The haters are being too critical. This is a good movie.
What follows below is a list of the most common criticisms I saw and how I judge them from my own viewing.